View Full Version : Humanity

Eastern Mind
29 April 2012, 08:03 AM
Vannakkam: Just this last week I realised that two of the longer term members here on HDF I had discussed with were the other gender than I had been imagining them to be!

Sometimes I think we are blinded by the words or our own responses, and fail to get that there is an actual human being who spent time considering and typing the words on the other end.

The original point is that we really know very very little about our fellow posters, unless we meet them in person. They may be gay, blind, hooked to steroids, hospitalised, aged 15, aged 75, divorced 3 times, prone to angry rants, too humble to say much at all, full of P and vinegar with ego, rich, poor, unskilled in English, celibate, adulterous, jailed, or living in any of 20 different countries.

As well, with regard to Hinduism, they can be traditional, just interested, of many sampradayas, truly committed to a particular lineage, universalist, of another faith just doing research, etc. We are, and should be, a mixed bag. It makes for better discussion. But to try to convince via condescending argument or insults that one way or another is better ... well, then :(

The only one thing we do know for sure is that it is a real live living breathing human who typed those words.

In some ways not knowing much is a good thing, because it discards gender, age, racial, ethnic, and appearance biases.

So it disappoints and saddens me when I see condescending attitudes, 'insult the other person's lineage or Guru' or I'm right and you're wrong' or 'Kick 'em when he's down' stuff going on.

But even those same individuals who do such are also people. Perhaps that angry rant was because of a medical inbalance, a bad day at the office, a scolding from a loved one or parent, an insecurity personal issue. We will never know. Still it is annoying or saddening, and many of us try not to respond, leaving it to the moderator to determine intent and harm.

Sorry for the ramble.

Aum Namasivaya

29 April 2012, 12:42 PM

EM, thanks for bringing this up to sensitize people to the possible health/environmental issues or other issues that people might be facing on any given day. There are times when we are stressed out because of a number of reasons and tend to be grumpy and forget that there is/are real live person(s) reading our jiberish. We take things so seriously that we feel obligated to correct the whole world and make them see everything from our vantage point only. I know that I have been carried away several times, even after making myself a promise to not indulge in such activity any more. To that end I appreciate and am grateful that brought up this topic.

On a related note, there are repeated conflagrations when Xitian/Islamic cultural/religious ideas are expressed in the forum. Perhaps we need to have a dialog about that too. Some Hindus are extremely sensitive and may even have open wounds that cause them to react negatively in these situations. Others, who have never really faced any hardships at the hands of muslims/xitians may take the high road and wag fingers at the sensitive ones. This does not get us anywhere. It just splits up perfectly reasonable people into two groups. With just one post muslims/xitians are able to get everyone worked up and make us lose our heads and old frienships. Why? I wish we could talk about it and try to understand each other. We seem to play right into the hands of any troublemakers coming in. To forgive would be ideal, but the pragmatic world out there is far from ideal. So, either we bury our collective heads into the sand and say there are no problems and we are going to welcome xitians/muslims with open arms, or listen to the Hindus with open wounds and try to understand their pain.

When India got divided, the Sindhis lost all of their land and Punjabis and Bengalis could salvage only half of what was theirs before. People who had to leave everything behind and run to the safety of India have still not recovered from that mental/fiscal shock. And the stories about their brothern who were left behind bring the disgust to the surface on a daily basis. Just last week, there was news of 4 Hindu doctors being killed in their office in the Sindh province by muslim extremists. Abduction of young girls and their forced marriages and conversion to Islam in the neighboring countries goes unabated. Some of us have our ears to the ground and we hear each one of these incidents. Others choose to look the other way as it is too emotionally draining and depressing for them. They always talk about having muslim and xitian friends and how rosy their environments are, and are totally oblivious to the pain of other Hindus. I wish there is a dialog to understand each other, so that we don't blow up and get divided into groups with every undesirable person making a questionable post.

Another factor is some of the less than committed converts, who practiced Islam/Xitianity before, or have family members who belong to those faiths and are therefore sympathetic to them. Should they welcome comments from Xitians/Islamists in the Hindu forum and should the HIndus just sit there and grin? Is that a fair thing to do? Do they care at all about the feelings of Hindus in a Hindu forum?

Like you EM, I am sorry for the rant. When one brings out the bad news, he gets several unflattering labels both in the forum and via PMs. But keeping things simmering under the surface only results in volcanic eruptions.

Note to myself - Oh, calm down, it is only a forum. Don't take everything so seriously.


Eastern Mind
29 April 2012, 01:09 PM
Vannakkam Believer: Thanks for the reply. I know one tool I have used more recently to understand a discussion or its emotional impact is to visualise how it might be in reality rather than just on this forum.

So I see a large muscular 6-3 280 pound 40 year old male from a European or North American country sitting across from a petite 17 year old girl from Delhi. Then I imagine them speaking aloud what they wrote on these forums.

That brings a whole new light to the issue for me.

For you and me, on the other hand, I visualise a nice coffee shop in some airport sipping tea with our wives, with lots of laughter all around, mostly them at us.

So this visualisation concept need not be so negative. :)

Only twice in my real life and its various interactions have I been approached by a person who sincerely wondered if they were 'that bad' and wanted my opinion. In both cases I had to tell the truth. "Yes, from my POV, you are." Gotta be a tough tough wake-up call, that.

Aum Namasivaya

30 April 2012, 10:13 AM
Namaste EM and Believer,

I share your concern. However, the "real" world is far from perfect. We should do our best to keep the environment clean for a healthy discussion. Sometimes we do lose temper ... not ideally desirable but not unexpected.

Every one of us comes from a different background ... with deep past impressions in his/her mind. So, there would be differences and some altercation when there is clash of values etc.. Unless it goes out of control to make the discussion impossible ... for which Satay always steps in does a commendable job on this forum ... we needn't bother. :)


Eastern Mind
30 April 2012, 10:26 AM
Vannakkam: It hurts the watcher more when they are privy to certain information about individuals. I remember the time, as a guidance counsellor, because of confidentiality legalities, a student in Grade 8 got pregnant. I was privy to it, but many teachers weren't. So the kid was taking heat about not being herself, not being able to concentrate, putting on weight, and all kinds of other rumours in the staffroom by teachers.

Unable to handle it, I finally called one old bag into my office, and broke the confidentiality protocol. " ________, she's pregnant." That shut her up a bit. Still it added one more reason to pick on the kid, so to this day I don't know if I did the right thing.

Here on HDF, Satay is no more privy to certain information than the rest of us. I mean, who wants to come on HDF, and say the AA opener ... "my name is _____ and I'm an alcoholic."

Aum Namasivaya

30 April 2012, 12:36 PM

.....we needn't bother. :)..........
I beg to differ from that conclusion. The Hindus who have not been affected by the course of Indian historical events and have led stable, sheltered lives do not even try to understand the anguish of others who have lived through some of the turbulent times. This leads to their throwing salt into open wounds - I am sure it is unintended but it does happen. So, unless we debate about that, repeated unpleasant/unintended flaring of tempers will keep happening.

Few years back there was a bollywood movie about the partition. Personally it is not a pleasant subject to watch or discuss, but a 'friend' remarked that I could just treat it as a historical movie and watch it. What an unfortunate ignorant position that is. A person who has never lost his home, his savings, had some of his people killed, seen/heard of young girls from his community/family being abducted and forced into conversion and marriage (effectively become a sex object), and being tossed into a different country and a different environment with no life line to support his family, will never understand the pain of those who have; unless he/she makes a conscious effort to do so. Just brushing it aside will not make him change, but a pro-active effort at educating oneself might help. Unless the problem is fixed at its root, it will not go away and remain in the realm of 'difference of opinions'. In the modern day context, if I were a Kashmiri Pandit, who had lost everything and maybe even lost some members of my family too, and was living in a tent in the biting cold winters of Jammu; I would rather have a Hindu slap me across the face than tell me that he was a civilized person, loved everyone and had no negative feelings towards the muslims. It is the non-understanding of their plight, that insulates us from their misery and we don't even shed a tear for them. That is betrayal of fellow Hindus. Not much more I can say, I guess.